“Go!” Asmeret yelled as they helplessly watched it close in. Bluebell tried to lift Phoebe, but she’d already gotten to her feet at Asmeret’s insistence. He was about to scoop her up regardless when a flash of white knocked him aside. It was already too late. Phoebe was only able to hobble a few steps when the feline monster reached her; she didn’t even have time to brace herself as it pounced directly at the gash in her midsection.
The force knocked her against a tree. Bullseye. But where it landed there was no collision, for half of its body had already disappeared back inside the wound. It dug, feet pushing down with so much force that Phoebe was convinced it would tear her in half. A gurgle of bile and blood sat caught in her throat. It succeeded after a moment of clamoring, sliding forward into an impossible space. It was then that Yuli reached her, running with so much fervor that they nearly crashed into her themself. They dug their snout into the wound but came back with nothing but blood on their face. The monster was gone.
Phoebe’s chest heaved, her eyes wide and glassy. She felt bark scraping against her skin, then soil under her hands. Her legs had given out and she slid down and down until she sat crumpled at the base of the tree. She didn’t attempt to stand back up. Trying to get her bearings, she looked around and realized that she couldn’t make much out at all. Everything was a blur. Then it all faded away.
Any earlier complaints from the members of Quill about wanting to shower and change out of their night clothes had been completely overshadowed. They carefully hoisted her onto Bluebell’s back, covering her with his coat. Then, they gathered their things and departed from the site of the crash, arriving at a vacant gas station parking lot half a mile from the tracks. Phoebe- either dead or dying- was gently laid in the back seat of a car, and everyone drove the rest of the way to Grand Shore in utter silence.
News post regarding the release of chapter II
We did it! We're done... For now!